Anti-depressants and drug companies: what we don't know about them.

Essay by redlauren May 2004

download word file, 6 pages 4.7 2 reviews

"It's not fair. That's how I feel. That a person in America could go to the doctor, get a prescription, take Effexor, and all of a sudden be unable to quit. That the doctor didn't tell that person how difficult it would be to quit before they started medication. That the manufacturer didn't fully disclose the degree of physical pain an average user will experience when discontinuing Effexor. That neither the doctor or the manufacturer acknowledge how serious the withdrawal symptoms are and therefore, offer no advice on treating the symptoms."

~ "Sean9",

A medical health problem is reaching epidemic proportions in the First World: depression, and other associated mental health problems such as Generalised Anxiety Disorder.

Venlafaxine (Effexor®), a bicyclic antidepressant, is used in the treatment of mood disorders, including depression, and anxiety disorders. "Sean9"'s experiences are not unique: Effexor is the most commonly prescribed drug by doctors in the treatment of depression: over 8.5

million people are prescribed Effexor every year.

When a patient ceases taking the drug, they will most likely suffer from what are commonly known as "discontinuation symptoms". Physical symptoms include nausea, vomiting, intense fatigue, dizziness, chills, sensory disturbances and persistent insomnia. Psychological symptoms include anxiety, agitation, crying spells and irritability. More rare symptoms include paranoid delusions and hallucination. These symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to many weeks. Symptoms often subside upon reintroduction of the drug, which can prompt a roller coaster-like attempt to quit the drug, as patients find other ways to treat their symptoms. Many patients after coming off Effexor, confuse their symptoms with the common cold or the flu, go to their GP and are prescribed a course of antibiotics. Some are prescribed strong pain-killers, increasing their incapacitation.

Sharon F McDill, a...